Eviction (rooming houses) - Tenants Victoria

    Eviction (rooming houses)

    Rooming houses and rooming house residents

    rooming house: a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms. See: What is a rooming house? (Consumer Affairs website).
    rooming house resident: a person who rents a room in a rooming house as their only or main residence.
    A resident does not need to have a tenancy agreement to live in a rooming house.
    If you have a written agreement with a start date and end date (a fixed term), contact us for advice.

    In order to evict you, the rooming house owner must:

    • give you a valid Notice to Vacate; and
    • apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a Possession Order, and if a Possession Order is granted;
    • purchase a Warrant of Possession from the Tribunal; and
    • give the Warrant of Possession to the police, which the police will use to evict you from the room.


    The landlord cannot have you evicted until they have taken all of the steps above. The owner cannot lock you out or personally carry out an eviction; only the police can evict you and only when they are acting on a Warrant of Possession.

    Tribunal applications

    Once the rooming house owner has given you a valid Notice to Vacate, they can then apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a Possession Order. They must also send a copy of the Tribunal application form to you. After that the Tribunal will send you a Notice of Hearing that tells you the time, date and place of the hearing.

    If you are given a Notice to Vacate and you do not want to be evicted, you should contact us urgently for advice.

    Tribunal hearings

    You must go to the hearing if you do not want to be evicted. If you do not go to the hearing it is most likely that the Possession Order will be granted and you will be evicted.

    By going to the hearing you will have the chance to challenge the landlord’s reason for wanting to evict you. (Contact us for advice on whether there are grounds to challenge the notice.) If the Tribunal finds that that the rooming house owner should not have given you the Notice to Vacate, the owner will not be given a Possession Order and you will be allowed to stay.

    Warrant of possession

    If the Tribunal finds that the rooming house gave you a valid Notice to Vacate and followed the proper procedure, they will grant the owner a Possession Order. This allows the owner to take out a Warrant of Possession, which gives the police the power to evict you. Once the owner has given the warrant to the police, the police usually have to carry out the eviction within 14 days (although in some special cases the Tribunal will sometimes set this at 30 days).

    However, if the Tribunal grants the owner a Possession Order for you to move out on the same day as the hearing, then the owner can purchase the Warrant of Possession on the same day. If they give the warrant straight to the police, you could be evicted on the same day.

    If you are likely to be evicted, it is a good idea to make arrangements before the hearing so you will have somewhere to stay, especially if you may be evicted on the same day or at short notice. If you have nowhere to go, we can direct you to crisis accommodation services.

    Review hearings

    If you find out that a Possession Order has been granted but you didn’t go to the hearing, you can apply to the Tribunal for a rehearing. You need to do this before the police evict you, as once you have been legally evicted the Tribunal has no power to get you back into the property. If possible, you should apply for an urgent review hearing by going to the Tribunal in person. If you live in the country or are unable to get to the Tribunal, you should phone the Tribunal and ask them how to apply for a review hearing, or contact us for advice.

    Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
    55 King Street Melbourne 3000
    1300 01 8228(1300 01 VCAT)
    fax (03) 9628 9822
    Open 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday

    When you apply for a review hearing, you should ask the Tribunal to contact the police and ask them to put a stop on the warrant until further notice. You should also call the police yourself to confirm this.

    At the review hearing you will need to convince the Tribunal that you had a good reason for not going to the original hearing. If the Tribunal accepts your explanation, they will set aside their earlier decision and a new hearing will go ahead. There is no fee for applying for a review hearing.

    Illegal evictions

    It is illegal for a rooming house owner (or anyone acting on their behalf) to attempt to physically evict you or to change the locks. Only the police can carry out an eviction and only when they have a warrant. If the owner tries to evict you, you should call the police immediately to remove the owner from your room.

    If you think that the rooming house owner is going to try to illegally evict you, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a Restraining Order.

    If you have been illegally evicted, you should immediately apply (in person if possible) for an urgent hearing at the Tribunal. The Tribunal can put a Restraining Order on the rooming house owner and order them to allow you to move back in.

    You should also lodge a complaint with the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria. There is a maximum penalty of $2268.40 (at the time of printing) if the owner is convicted. You can also seek compensation for any inconvenience, costs, loss or damage to your goods caused by the owner’s illegal actions.

    This information is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.


     

    need more help?

    If you live in a rooming house and you need information or advice call us on 9411 1444 and ask for Outreach. Or leave a message and the Outreach worker will contact you.
    Please note our service is closed weekends and public holidays.

     


    Tenants Victoria | Published: June 2009
    Tenants help line 03 9416 2577 | tuv.org.au
    Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

    Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.